Our livers are vital organs in the human body. Among other functions, the liver clears the blood of toxins, drugs, waste products and hormones. They also produce essential proteins and make bile so that our bodies can break down food. Further, they store and release fats and sugars while sending vitamins, minerals and iron to various parts of the body when needed. In short, the liver is an essential part of our body.
Yet, there are things that we do that affect liver health such as drinking too much alcohol or eating too much sugar.
Sugar and your liver
Sugar is sucrose, made up of 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose.
The liver deals with glucose by either using it for energy or storing the excess for when we are running low. This form of energy storage is called glycogen and it’s like a backup battery pack. When we are low on fuel the body first uses what’s in the bloodstream, then uses our glycogen stores.
With fructose, the liver works very differently. Whether it needs energy or not, the liver is constantly pulling fructose from the blood and storing it. If you already have a ‘full tank’ when it comes to energy, that fructose immediately gets turned into fat and then more fat and it goes on! This can create a fatty liver.
If left untreated, fatty liver disease causes the liver to be scarred and can eventually lead to cirrhosis and potentially irreversible liver damage. Fatty liver disease is also a major risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes.
It is important to note that even a visually skinny person can possess a fatty liver!
With this in mind, it is crucial for us to care for our livers. Given that the liver is able to regenerate and restore itself to some extent, here are 4 tips to detox your liver!
- Regular Exercise
Regular exercise is key to a healthy liver. Exercise decreases stress on the liver while increasing energy levels and preventing obesity – a risk factor for liver disease.
2. Keep Hydrated
Dehydration can have a direct effect on our liver’s ability to properly detoxify our body. As the liver loses hydration, it also loses its organ reserve, or what it uses to take care of the rest of the body and when this happens, your risk of illness increases. The general rule is to consume roughly half your ideal body weight of water daily from a clean water source
3. Consume Liver Cleansing foods
Liver cleaning foods such as broccoli, grapefruit, walnuts, lemons, Brussel sprouts, avocados, garlic, beets, leafy greens and green tea are known for their liver detox capabilities and should be incorporated into the regular diet.
4. Consume Less Alcohol
Our livers can only break down a small amount of alcohol every hour. With this in mind, we should not drink to excess. Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.
Always consult a health professional when in doubt.